Round Rotherham in 8.26. 20th place. A whole world of pain.
Felt nauseous the day before and thought I was coming down with something, but turns out it was just nerves! This was my first run longer than 31 miles, and I’d never even run further than 49 miles in a whole week! That took six runs. But I still felt good about it – at the start line I was the fittest I’d ever been, and I knew I was going to walk the first minute of every mile right from the 2nd mile. Even with that walking I could hold to 8 hour pace, and I felt like I could probably keep that up for a (very?) long time.
Was roughly on 8 hour pace until about mile 37, when it all started going downhill. I still kept more or less to my plan of walking the first minute of every mile, but both the walking and the jogging got slower after that, so that I was doing 10 and 11 minute miles. I managed two sub-10 minute miles right at the end and they were absolutely brutal, even though I knew the finish line was just around the corner. Still, I am really chuffed to have only slipped 26 minutes from my 8 hour target (which was never really a serious target anyway, let's be honest!). 40 miles would have been so much easier, but I guess it's all relative, and if I train differently next time 50 miles might seem a lot easier (just like comparing my first and second marathons). I kinda knew I was going to struggle already at about 16 miles, as the legs were already starting to ache just slightly, whereas I was hoping they would feel 'perfect' until at least half way.
Pretty happy with how I handled fueling and water. One thing was that I seemed to need a lot of water between 25 and 38 miles. After about 38 miles I felt too sick to eat or drink anything. So it was pointless having a caffeine bar with me to give me a boost in the last 12 miles. In the end I had: A peanut butter sandwich and malt loaf for the first 21 miles. Then a gel and caffeine bar from my mum and dad at RV, which took me through to Woodsetts at 30.5 miles. Then a Clif Bar from there, but I didn't finish it because was starting to feel nauseous. Had a gel around 35 miles too because I didn't know what else to do at that point and was really starting to feel it. That was the last thing I managed to eat. I also had a couple of small jam sandwiches at checkpoints, which felt good. I drank only water, which seemed fine, although I should experiment with Tailwind and similar, just in case that helps. I also have to mention meeting up with Steve (Stephen Davies) at the Maltby checkpoint. I don't know how I'd have got through the final 10 miles without him. I would certainly have been a lot slower, as I was in a whole world of pain, and starting to feel emotional/desperate.
Kit: Everything was ideal, really. Nothing to change! Oh, I set off with thin gloves, a cap, and a 2nd layer running top. I didn't need any of this. It was cold at the start, but within a couple of miles I was warmed up, and I binned the 2nd layer, then carried the cap and gloves all the way to Rother Valley and gave them to my M&D!
Also worth mentioning that around Roche Abbey I felt kinda ill and shivery for a couple of miles. At that point I even wondered whether I would finish or whether my body was 'shutting down' or whatever. But it didn't last too long. Coming out of Maltby felt better somehow (I felt battered and knackered, but not ill).
Legs very sore the day after, and two days after, but feeling quite a bit better three days after (today). Probably should have had an ice bath after, but couldn't face it. Also, everyone else seems to be doing recovery runs, but I can't face that either. Legs are just too gone. Cycling and walking are helping, though. I'll get there!
Overall, an amazing day. Weather was perfect (not too hot, not too cold, a touch of sunshine but not too much). Met some great people too. The checkpoints were spot on and the volunteers were brilliant. And so good to see friends and family at the end – just glad I managed not to burst into tears with relief as I crossed the finish line!
Looking forward to next time…
Official results here.
As an added bonus I also managed to raise over £600 for the Sutton Trust (with thanks to everyone who sponsored me!). Details here.